Blisters are fluid-filled bumps that look
like bubbles on the skin. You may develop a
blister on your foot when you wear new shoes that rub against your skin or on
your hand when you work in the garden without wearing gloves. Home treatment is
often all that is needed for this type of blister.
Other types of
injuries to the skin that may cause a blister include:
Infection can cause either a single blister or clusters of
Inflammation may cause skin blisters.
Occasionally a prescription or nonprescription
medicine or ointment can cause blisters. The blisters
may be small or large and usually occur with reddened, itchy skin. If the
blisters are not severe and you do not have other symptoms, stopping the use of
the medicine or ointment may be all that is needed. Blisters may
also occur as a symptom of a toxic reaction to a medicine. This reaction is
Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Blisters that occur with
other signs of illness, such as a fever or chills, may
mean a more serious problem.
Check your symptoms
to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
Symptoms of infection may
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind
of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be
able to take care of this problem at home.
You may need a tetanus shot depending
on how dirty the wound is and how long it has been since your last shot.
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and
illness. Some examples in adults are:
Many prescription and nonprescription medicines, including
some that you put directly on the skin, may cause blisters. A few examples
Symptoms of serious illness in a baby
may include the following:
Symptoms of serious illness may
Based on your answers, you need
or other emergency services now.
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The
problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical
Pain in adults and older children
Pain in children under 3 years
It can be hard to tell how much pain a baby or toddler is in.
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Most blisters heal on their own. Home treatment may help decrease pain, prevent infection, and
help heal large or broken blisters.
Watch for a skin infection while your blister is healing.
Signs of infection include:
Home remedies may relieve
itching from blisters. One way to help decrease
itching is to keep the itchy area cool and wet. Apply a cloth that has been
soaked in ice water, or get in a cool tub or shower.
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
Some of the most common types of blisters
can be prevented.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to
answer the following questions:
December 10, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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